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If you’re ever in distress, there are many ways for you to alert someone to help you. You can call 911, flag down a passing motorist, or simply shout for help. A fetus still in the uterus or vaginal canal during birth that finds itself in distress has far fewer options to draw attention to its challenging circumstances.
Without the possibility of words to express itself, it is only when the fetus exhibits abnormal vital statistics or a when an attending medical provider determines through a diagnosis that there is cause for concern and action must be taken.
Fetal tachycardia (an abnormally fast heart rate) is often a telltale sign that the fetus is in distress. It is commonly associated with perinatal asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia (deprivation or absence of oxygen). The condition can arise from placental insufficiency (inadequate oxygen or nutrients from a damaged placenta), in utero or maternal infection, poor management of maternal medications, and meconium aspiration (first fecal matter is mixed with amniotic fluid and ingested), or a traumatic birth or lengthy labour.
Effective obstetrical care can identify fetal tachycardia and prompt action to treat underlying conditions can reduce the likelihood of permanent brain damage. However, when standards of care are breached due to negligence and baby or mother suffers harm, it’s called obstetrical malpractice. The resulting birth injuries can cause serious disability, loss of function or even death and cast a long shadow over what should be a joyous moment in the delivery room.
Other Common Birth Injuries
A birth injury can occur at any stage of pregnancy, labour, or delivery and in the period immediately following birth. They can include:
- Cerebral Palsy – A brain injury occurring before, during or shortly following birth that affects muscle control, reflexes, coordination, balance and sometimes vision, hearing, and the ability to communicate. It can be caused by viral or bacterial infections in the mother or baby, early birth, low birth weight, stroke or brain injury/trauma.
- Spinal cord injuries – Blunt force trauma (often during forced extractions), illness, or undiagnosed or misdiagnosed spina bifida (vertebrae do not completely enclose nerves in the spine) can all cause spinal cord damage that results in paralysis, loss of sensation, pain, abnormal reflexes and spasms.
- Brachial plexus injuries – Often the result of shoulder dystocia (when the baby’s shoulders remain lodged behind a mother’s pelvic bone during delivery), these injuries affect the nerve network between the neck and shoulders and may cause Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy
- Broken bones and scarring – Soft tissue damage or broken bones can occur during a traumatic birth, forced extraction, or through improper use of medical instruments.
- Kernicterus – A form of brain damage that can occur following birth if severe jaundice is not appropriately treated.
When You’ve Been Hurt, We’re Here To Help
If you or a loved one has sustained a birth injury, you know how quickly the joy that should accompany a birth can turn to sorrow. Learning that obstetrical malpractice caused or contributed to such an injury can be especially devastating. In only a few moments, a medical provider’s negligent action or inaction can forever change the course of life.
Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers are ready to help you in Vancouver if obstetrical malpractice hurt you or someone you love. Recognized by our legal peers as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms, HSH has the experience, expertise and understanding to help our clients navigate this challenging area of law during one of the most difficult times in their lives.
Our team has developed a strong reputation for the compassion, care, and respect we bring to all of our client interactions. We understand the legal process can feel overwhelming and do our utmost to ensure we keep you informed, answers your questions, and reassure you if you’re concerned.
An HSH birth injury lawyer will be pleased to meet with you in your own home in the Vancouver area or at a nearby consultation office. Distance or your ability to travel should never be a barrier to accessing high quality legal representation. As you meet us, you’ll see how we can become a trusted member of your support team. We will help to facilitate testing, assessments and rehabilitative therapies to support both your case and your loved one’s recovery.
With an HSH birth injury lawyer on your side and by your side in Vancouver, you can be confident that you’ll have a staunch advocate working with you to access the financial resources you or your loved one needs in the face of a tragic injury. While nothing can take away the pain and suffering you’ve experienced, an HSH birth injury lawyer will advocate for you, ensure your best interests are always top of mind, and assist you on this journey to attain a good quality of life and hope for better days ahead.
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